Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Newfoundland Journey 2018 — Phase 7

I'm on a two-month journey in Newfoundland. My goal here is to post some highlights, both in words and pictures, and to try to include some tips if you're planning to make the trek to the Rock.
 You can click on any picture in the blog to blow it up. Most of the pictures are available as large format prints at very reasonable cost. Contact me.

Bonavista is a great little town

As I mentioned last week, virtually everything in Trinity is dedicated to the tourist trade. While the centre of Bonavista is also comprised of 'heritage' homes and sites, there's actually a townful of people who work for a living in other fields. While the Bonavistonians share the same outgoing friendliness of the rest of Newfoundland, you have a sense that they have lives in the present, not just rooted in the past. It's bigger of course, and it actually has gas stations and grocery stores.

That said, when I arrived on Sunday, I was disappointed to learn that the grocery store was closed. Stores are open on Sundays everywhere, right? Aha. Turns out it was "Bonavista Days", a local holiday. No sweat, restaurants are open! And BONUS: fireworks scheduled for tonight.

We had rented a "saltbox house" in downtown Bonavista for the week: Trudy and Jeff joined me for 4 days before heading to Twillingate (we were going in opposite directions, ships passing in the night!).

Here's the house we rented, "Dorman's Manor". Only a couple of hundred yards from the harbour. It's a "Saltbox House", architecture that dates back to the 18th century. The house was very well decorated and kept. Strange layout, with a pullman car kitchen along the left side and characteristic low ceilings (apparently people were shorter in those days!).

Fireworks that night. Quite an impressive show. 

Something a little different from me: almost a street photo. It's about what you think is happening in the picture. I watched this girl tottering along the unsure footing of rhe stallykins that made up this flake (If you don't know those words, you didn't read my last blog post. Scroll down for it). 

Regrettably, I didn't shoot a lot of pictures of Bonavista itself, there were too many other things happening. Bonavista is about landscapes, lighthouses, whales and puffins.

We of course visited the Bonavista Lighthouse and the Dungeon Provincial Park. Everyone posts pictures of these sites, so I won't. Except this one:

Shot from the dungeons. That's the lighthouse in the distance. 

There was a herd of beautiful horses on the Community Pasture at the Dungeons. I couldn't get this mare to run towards me, mane and tail streaming in the wind. I leave it to your imagination.

The stallion that led this herd was less friendly. He actually bit Trudy to convince her to stay away from his brood. She was black and blue (and other spectacular colours!) from shoulder to elbow for a long time! 

I have hundreds of Puffin shots. These little airborne clowns are addictive to shoot. And if you're there at the right time... which, it turns out, is just before sunset. Probably also in the morning but I didn't get there that early. There are several places to watch them but the best one is the Puffin Viewing area at Elliston.

Puffins don't fly very well. Their wings are apparently designed for swimming not flying. They have to work like crazy to stay aloft and their takeoffs and landings are amazingly clumsy. 

My first visit there (this year) was during the day and the birds stayed on their nesting island, so these were long distance shots, with the 400mm and cropped. Tough to shoot them in flight!

Those aren't dust spots: they're other birds in flight in the background.

Not the only birds there: these were juvenile seagulls.

I came back there twice, both late in the day. The first time, I used a stuffed puffin toy I had bought to entice them — turns out I didn't need it, they were going to come over to our side of the water anyway.

Seriously, they did fly over to check the toy out.

You could shoot them from 10 or 20 feet away. 

BUT. Trudy and Jeff went over the next night and got shots of the puffins actually doing things, not just standing there and posing for pictures. I couldn't let that pass, so I went over the next night and got these shots. They're full high-resolution images and will make dandy prints (especially for a kid's room... hint!)

I also went out in search of whales. I really wanted to see a breach — when the whale comes head first out of the water. Didn't happen. It was an enjoyable morning on the water, though and we did get close to some whales. There's a new regulation that prevents boats from approaching whales too closely and harassing them. By the way, that's put those outfits like the one in Petty Harbour that fits people out with wetsuits and snorkels and lets them swim with the whales, out of business.

shot from the Bonavista Whale and Puffin Tours boat. 

I've been on the go for a month. 

When you have other people with you, you're somehow driven to keep doing things, just hanging out and doing nothing isn't an option. I did have some 'alone' time but in Trinity there was lots to do and see... In Bonavista I got tired out and did little the last day or two.

While Trudy and Jeff were there, for instance, we went to the Bonavista Social Club for lunch (highly recommended!), we drove out to Spillar's Cove and went on a short hike. It was supposed to be a short hike, Trudy said there was a spot where you could get even closer to Puffins. They went ahead: I'm a little slower and was being careful, using my cane. I lost them and gave up after an hour of walking. I'm glad I went, though. While they were there, I averaged over 8000 steps/day. When they left, half that!

A short hike indeed! 

However some OUTSTANDING scenery.

An amazing view. This is a composited panorama because I only had the 70-200mm lens with me. 

August 4th I travelled to Torbay, to this amazing house overlooking the ocean. I'm spending 3 weeks here, the last one with Amin when he comes back. I have lots of goals of things to see, places to go. 

It was a travel day but I made a point to stop in a couple of places along the way. One of them was Chance Cove: I had heard on the radio that the capelin were rolling on their beach. True, but not in huge numbers and there were no locals scooping them up.  

Capelin are dark green on top, so masses of them in the water appear black. But on the beach, you see their shiny silver sides. 

To paraphrase Michelangelo, "I saw the colours in the rocks and strove to let them out".

The other place I visited enroute was Cavendish, where there are some iconic huts, painted in primary colours. You really need to go there in the morning when the sun is on the pond side of the huts. 

To make the shot more interesting, I did some warping in Photoshop!

Just South of Cavendish is a town called Whiteway, home to a beautiful rock formation just outside the bay.

When I processed this image, I tried to remove the apparent 'noise' above the rocks. It was only then that I zoomed in and discovered it wasn't noise, it was thousands and thousands of seabirds in flight above the rocks. No idea what kind of birds or why they were there! I made this image the new header for the blog today.

Next week: Torbay. Wait for it!

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